At some point in life, a dementia patient will have to face the last stages of this disorder. It can be accompanied by various physical and mental signs, explains Prabhdyal Singh Sodhi. These signs can send major indications that difficulties during the final stage are increasing. Hence, surviving for the long term, once this stage arrives, can be a challenge. The dementia specialist, Mr. Sodhi considers that alongside finding out these signs, some other things should also be known. These can include identifying the duration of this stage. In addition, which factors can speed up the stage should be learned.
What are the Signs of Final Stage Dementia?
Signs of varying types can be observed when the last stage of dementia arrives or is nearing. While some signs are physical, others can be emotionally or mentally exhibited. By observing these, family members of patients can possibly assume that their death is approaching. Hence, they can mentally prepare themselves but also adopt end-of-life care.
- Physical Signs
During the final stage of this brain disorder, a patient may not eat or drink. There can be 2 possible reasons pertaining to this. He or she may lose interest in maintaining a diet. Or, eating/drinking can become too tough. In some cases, the patient can undergo malnutrition as well.
Along with observing this physical sign, plenty of others should also raise a concern:
- It can be more than difficult to complete regular and basic activities such as:
- Urinating or defecating
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) may frequently affect the person.
- Sitting without anyone’s help will be a challenge, informs Mr. Sodhi.
- Major walking difficulties during dementia’s final stage can emerge.
- A patient can remain dehydrated.
- There can be other changes with respect to how a patient respirates.
- Mental Signs
As the final stage approaches, Prabhdyal Singh Sodhi shares that a dementia patient may stop expressing himself or herself. Although this sign may vary in different people, caregivers should look out for it, says the dementia specialist. In some cases, communication can become majorly complex when this sign emerges.
- A person may remain agitated, hinting at the next mental sign during this stage.
- Losing interest in talking may be observed.
- In some instances, patients may talk but use one word, devoid of a meaningful essence.
- They may look severely depressed or stressed.
What is the Duration of Dementia’s Last Stage?
Usually, the last stage of the disorder, dementia, can prevail for some weeks. However, in certain cases, the same may convert into some years. The duration of this stage can rely on a few factors associated with the medical condition of a patient. Even the quality of care provided can play a role in determining this duration.
Can Sudden Death Occur during Dementia?
Caregivers may find it alarming that sudden death can occur when dementia reaches the final stage. Mr. Sodhi believes that it can be rare to see such an outcome. Nevertheless, the dementia specialist opines that the possibilities can’t be completely eliminated.
Also, in the cases of sudden death, some factors can aggravate the last stage. When the development of these factors can be prevented, the possibilities can be minimized.
- When does a Dementia Patient Suddenly Die?
Considering one of the signs of dementia during the advanced stages, infections can often develop and impact the health of patients. Prabhdyal Singh Sodhi observes that infections like pneumonia, UTI, etc., can be one of the factors leading to the sudden end of life.
1. A Frail-Growing Body
The next factor that can lead to the unexpected death of a dementia patient is a frail body. This can happen due to 2 reasons. One of these is malnutrition. The second one comprises difficulties in swallowing water or food.
Owing to any of these reasons, the person cannot receive the required nutrition. As a negative outcome of this, she or he may not survive when the body continues to grow frail.
2. Blood Clots in the Lungs
During the last stage of dementia, blood clots may get formed in the lungs. This can particularly happen when patients are bedridden. A lack of movement can cause this medical condition. It can only aggravate the situation and cause a patient to suddenly die.
3. Strokes or Heart Attacks
Severe consequences can arise when patients with dementia have poor cardiovascular health. Especially when they become prone to heart attacks, strokes, etc., they may die before the expected time.
4. Injuries or Falls
An important factor observed during sudden deaths is the high frequency of falls or injuries. A lack of a safe environment is the main reason why these outcomes can take place. The other reason can comprise the absence of supervision, shares Mr. Sodhi.
What is End-of-Life Care for Dementia Patients?
In the final stages of disorders like dementia, caregivers or family members can benefit from end-of-life care. This care is provided to patients when they require more support to live. Even when they have to perform the activities that are essential to survive daily, this type of care can be vital.
In the opinion of Mr. Sodhi, end-of-life care can be effective for the following reasons too:
- It may extend the duration of living for a dementia patient.
- Quality care during the last stage can be provided to her/him.
How can Dementia Specialists Help during the Last Stage?
Although death during dementia cannot be fully prevented, specialists can help in certain ways. Mr. Sodhi says that such professionals can administer measures to provide more comfort to patients. They can work on every scope of extending life, by working on the controllable factors responsible for death.
When a loved one is undergoing the final stage of dementia, Prabhdyal Singh Sodhi opines that some signs should be observed. In relation to these, some measures may be adopted to help the patient. In this regard, end-of-life care and the help of a dementia specialist can also be preferred.